Paul Ryan Lied About Janesville GM Plant

Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention was breathtakingly dishonest, even by the extremely loose standards of honesty practiced by our politicians. The Wisconsin Republican Congressman, hailed often as a "straight shooter" by the media because of his budget plan, lied about that plan and other significant matters to the assembled delegates and the millions watching on TV.

No lie was more brazen than the one he told about the GM auto plant that closed in his Janesville hometown.

Ryan said, "A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: 'I believe that if our government is there to support you ... this plant will be here for another hundred years.' That's what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day."

The plant closed in December 2008 while George W. Bush was president. President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, so he was in no position to do anything to save a plant whose closure was announced in June of the preceding year. One person who was in a position to do something to about it was Ryan, who has represented Janesville in Congress for 13 years.

Another lie Ryan told was about the Simpson-Bowles debt commission.

Ryan said of Obama, "He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing."

The Congressman was one of the 18 members of that commission. The Simpson-Bowles report proposed spending cuts and a U.S. tax code overhaul that would cut $4 trillion from federal budget deficits by 2020. The plan was a politically courageous effort with pain for both Republicans and Democrats that needed 14 yes votes to be officially recommended to Congress.

Ryan, who faulted Obama last night for ignoring that "urgent report," was one of seven who voted to kill it. He blamed Obama for taking no action on a deficit-reduction plan he helped fail.

Ryan's third lie was about Medicare, the health program for seniors that he wants to replace in the future with vouchers.

Ryan said, "And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. ... So they just took it all away from Medicare. $716 billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama."

As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan incorporated the same $716 billion in Medicare cuts into two budgets he guided through the House. He used the money, which does not affect Medicare recipients directly, to achieve deficit reduction. Even better, if Ryan's voucher plan becomes law, it will cut far more from Medicare than the $716 billion in cuts he called the "coldest power play of all." If future retirees get a fixed payment and are forced to shop for health coverage among private insurance plans, any cost-of-care increases will be borne by those seniors instead of the federal government.

When he was selected as Mitt Romney's running mate, Ryan was perceived as a serious politician who had tackled hard issues with sober, tough proposals. His presence in the presidential race would elevate the tone, pundits anticipated.

Instead, he's setting a pathological new standard for falsehood that challenges the media's aversion to calling anything a lie.

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said last night after Ryan's speech, "I marked at least seven or eight points I'm sure the fact checkers will have some opportunities to dispute."

Blitzer didn't identify any of those factually dubious points. "He delivered a powerful speech," Blitzer said. "A powerful speech."


Assembly production continued in Janesville until April 2009.

The Janesville GM plant shut down in December 2008. A skeleton crew remained for a few months to complete one Isuzu order.

I guess that makes you the liar Rogers, you just admitted it. Call it a 'skeleton crew' all you want but the FACT is that it was operating. But then that's all you Democrats have these days are lies and hate, we will see how many people buy your stream of lies in November.

So a plant that once employed 7,000 lays off 1,200 employees and keeps a few dozen behind a few months to finish one job, and that means it was still open?

If you're going to rely on technicalities to defend one of Ryan's many lies, the plant's technically still open. It just doesn't have any workers and doesn't make any cars.

The plant is still on stand-by to re-open...

GM Janesville Plant:

2/08 Obama at plant making speech he will keep plants like this open.
6/08 Stop making medium duty trucks. End of 2009 all trucks stop making. End of 2010 all SUV stop making.
10/08 Obama at plant saying Janesville is a plant to lead the future of GM.
4/09 Closed.
9/11 Plant on standby.

The plant being on "standby" is irrelevant to the discussion. It has no workers. In December 2008 the work force of 1,200 was laid off, aside from a skeleton crew.

Obama, lacking a time machine, could not do anything to stop that layoff. Ryan knows this because he's from Janesville. He chose to lie about it.

Photos from the last day at the plant from the Janesville Gazette, Dec. 23, 2008:

Janesville, former home of the Yukon, Suburban, Tahoe and Denali. Without lot's of cheap oil, these babies don't sell well(although Obama has a fleet of them). Pipelines and drilling will bring Janesville back.

I live in Janesville. The shut-down of the main assembly line took place on December 23, 2008. From that point forward, many people living in Janesville were laid off. The closure affected not just GM Assembly itself, but multiple supplier facilities in town including a seat manufacturer, an outsourced logistics warehouse, and a vehicle delivery company.

Sure, some people have worked at the plant even to this day. It has 24/7 security. That's some people. It has groundskeepers. It has electricians. It has people dismantling and shipping the robots and other assembly equipment to other plants, or for scrap. But the plant is SHUT DOWN as an economic entity in Janesville. This is not semantics. I can show you the unemployment figures, the foreclosures, the food pantry usage, the demoralization.

The fact that a fellow Janesvillian would argue so mendaciously is a betrayal of the highest order. Rogers, thank you for helping debunk this awful lie.

Thanks for the comment, Dan. I didn't realize that was your town -- the impact must be devastating. Is there any truth to the rumor that GM might reopen it as conditions improve?

Ryan didn't lie ... didn't even stretch the truth. Obama was my do-nothing, vote for nothing senator in Illinois and when he came to my plant in Kenosha he implied that if we were good union guys and got him elected he would infuse money into Chysler and keep us employed. Well, we walked the line, ferried folks to the polls and the first new product we were supposed to get went to Mexico ... the green diesel went to his friends in China and we went home. All he managed to save was the union because they contributed to his campaign ... Nothing was done for the employees ... I like what Walker is doing to Wisconsin, I may even move up there. Wish bankrupt Illinois had a Scott Walker ... If GM and Chrysler had been allowed to declare bankruptcy and clean house, we'd still be working.

Rodgers, you are spinning Obama's lie into the libs like to call the truth. Obama promised to keep the plant open, it closed. Regardless of the time that it closed, Barack still had a chance to save it 1 month after it closed. He couldn't though because he was too busy bashing America and apologizing to other countries on how terrible America had been. Your president has failed this country in the worse way.

You want to call out Ryan on lying. Don't throw rocks in a glass house. Your boy has broken so many campaign promises. Remember the one he promised to unite Democrats and Republicans? Look in the last month what he has done.

Remember the promise of no new debt? Broken
Remember the promise of getting the nation back to work? Broken
Remember the promise of no new taxes? Obamacare much? Broken

Obama has failed THIS country in every which way he could. I dare you to list 10 things he has done to help this country. I dare you to list anything his record as president has shown that he has accomplished. Obamacare? Yea he promised it wouldn't add taxes yet the Supreme Court labeled it a tax.

I suggest you libs to actually worry about your party's future. Next time bring some real hope and change, not some smooth talking Chicago politician.

The most ridiculous claim made about President Obama is that he's been apologizing for America. It's no wonder Clint Eastwood argued with an imaginary Obama. Republicans have been doing that for four years.

The plant did remain open until late April 2009, but that's not even the point. Even after the plant "closed," are you saying that President Obama no means of following through with his promise: "...our government is there to support you..."? Since our government owned the plurality of shares of GM after the bail-out, wasn't there something the government could have done to " you..."!? After all, the President did manage to get rid of the CEO of GM. The fact of the matter is that then-Senator Obama promised to support Janesville but did not follow-up on his promise.

As for budgets and deficites, Erskine Bowles, the Democratic co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles Commission and former Chief of Staff to President Clinton, said this about Ryan and his budget plan last year (my emphasis added):

“Have any of you met Paul Ryan? We should get him to come to the university. I’m telling you this guy is amazing, uh. I always thought that I was OK with arithmetic, but this guy can run circles around me. And, he is honest. He is straightforward. He is sincere.

And, the budget that he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, serious budget and it cut the budget deficit by $4 trillion…just like we did.

The President came out with his own plan and the President came out, as you will remember, with a budget and I don’t think anyone took that budget very seriously. Um, the Senate voted against it 97 to nothing. He, therefore, after a lot of pressure from folks like me, he came out with a new budget framework and, in the new budget framework, he cut the budget deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years. And, to be candid, this $4 trillion cut was very heavily back-end loaded. So, if you looked at it on a 10 year basis and compared apples-to-apples, it was about a $2.5 trillion cut.”

It's ironic that Erskine Bowles called Paul Ryan honest, straightforward and sincere, given that Ryan just lied about the Bowles commission in the biggest speech of his life.

This "dialogue" is fascinating. It could not be clearer that the plant closed before Obama was President. Rogers has painstakingly established the facts of the story, and these have been supported by others here with specific knowledge, photographic evidence, and so on. And DESPITE this, the facts of the story are either disregarded by dimwits in order to spew purposeless Dittohead bile, or they are 'finessed,' for want of a better term, in excruciatingly weak efforts to flip the story into utter fiction. There are no truths, they argue unwittingly; there are only the stories we prefer. They are so postmodern, aren't they? We can thank FOX News and Hate Wing Radio for stupefying and politicizing an unfortunate segment of the electorate, producing a syllogistically-challenged and willfully ignorant tribal army of "debaters" deployed into forums such as this, to do what we see here. What a blessing.

Add a Comment

All comments are moderated before publication. These HTML tags are permitted: <p>, <b>, <i>, <a>, and <blockquote>. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA (for which the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply).